Monday, February 9, 2009

Transport Frustrations

YESTERDAY:
(wave down taxi)
me: Silwan for 20 shekels?
cab driver: no
me: 25?
cab driver: no - its Arab neighborhood.
me: ugh, fine.

(wave down next taxi)

me: Silwan for 20 shekels?
cab driver 2: no, its Arab
me: fine.

(wave down next taxi)
me: Silwan for 20 shekels?
cab driver 3: (drives off)

repeat a few more times... 7th or 8th cab driver is Arab, so we are in luck, get a ride to Silwan.....

later that day in Silwan:

(wave down taxi)
me: Mount Scopus for 20 shekels?
cab driver 4: no, its Jewish.

you have got to be kidding.


TODAY:

I have to catch an 'Arab' bus to Azarya, the Bedouin village where I work with the teachers (yes, there are "arab" buses and "main/public" buses- they go to different neighborhoods)
I am standing at a 'public' bus stop near my university waiting for Arab bus #36 to come along.

THREE 36's pass me without stopping, despite frantic waving gestures/jumping out into the road.

Why? Why are they not stopping??? I look around - what could it be? I have no idea. The only thing I can think of is that there are a bunch of soldiers around me... but they are all relaxed and just sitting waiting for a bus- I don't know. Maybe a there is a rule against them stopping there? They seem to stop EVERYWHERE else - I don't get it.

So after waiting for almost an hour, I haul myself and my half broken leg down a hill into Isawiyya - an Arab village right by where I live - and of course, a #36 bus stops immediately.

Seriously, folks - what gives? There has to be some easier way of transferring between the Jewish and Arab worlds here.

A side note - on the #36 on the way home, I was the only person on the bus for a while. For whatever reason, the people on bus #36 are SO nice to me. The other day, they drove out of the way to drop me where I needed to go (at the insistance of the people sitting around me). Today, the bus driver bought me a bag of salted soy beans (or something - maybe chickpeas?) from a street vendor - they were delicious, and I was touched.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

when they say,it's _____. does that mean, they think you are that and won't pick you up?

Haley said...

No - I've actually been treated very kindly by all of the people I have met. I think it is more that they don't want to drive into those neighborhoods, perhaps because they feel it is not safe, or perhaps because it is too far away from where they life - not entirely sure.

Victor said...

Some nice parallels or comparisons and constrasts with South Africa, huh?